A Colombian mayoral candidate is the 16th politician to be murdered in the country this year.
Orley Garcia was a mayoral candidate for the town of Toledo in the Colombian department of Antioquia.
The 48-year-old’s bullet-riddled body was found in a forest after he was gunned down while campaigning.
The candidate’s alleged assassination is the 16th killing of a politician between January 1 and September 4, according to the local authorities.
Reports also said that 192 threats have been reported by election candidates in the same period.
Antioquia police commander Colonel Giovanny Buitrago confirmed that Garcia was shot by a suspect hiding in the wooded area of Morales Toro, around 40 minutes from Toledo.
Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010), who is also the head of Garcia’s political party the Democratic Centre, said on social media that the candidate suffered “13 shots” that caused his death.
After Garcia’s death, he said: “If criminals are trying to make us hide, they had better look for a place to hide themselves because with the Armed Forces, the constitution and the law behind us, we will travel throughout Colombia in support of democracy.”
Colonel Buitrago said that the forested area where Garcia was shot is home to a number of armed guerrillas belonging to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) who refuse to accept the peace agreement signed in 2016 with then-president Juan Manuel Santos.
The local authorities said that 36 percent of the country’s municipalities, 418 out of 1,120, “are at electoral risk due to the presence of illegal armed groups”.
A United Nations spokesperson slammed the attacks on “people committed to democracy in the country” and called for sanctions for “those responsible”.
The investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been reported.